Three Jamie Maclaren goals in eight second-half minutes propelled Brisbane Roar to a 5-1 win over Central Coast Mariners on Sunday night.
Maclaren’s quickfire treble turned the match on its head after Fabio Ferreira had earlier given the Mariners a surprise lead.
Despite holding the Mariners to one shot in the first half, the Roar fell behind five minutes into the second when Fabio Ferreira capped off a long run with a powerful shot from the edge of the area.
Roy O’Donovan then smacked the upright with a sweet first-time strike, a close call that shocked the Roar into action.
Head Coach John Aloisi said he never doubted the team’s ability to fight back after going a goal down at Suncorp Stadium.
“Even if we go a goal down we keep playing our game. The players don’t know how to stop,” Aloisi said.
“We scored five and we could have had a lot more as well.”
The Roar began to pepper Ivan Necevski’s goal with a barrage of shots, eventually breaking through via the team’s leading goalscorer.
Borrello slowed the play down on the byline before squaring to Maclaren and the No. 9 converted his second attempt, after Harry Ascroft had blocked his initial shot.
Eight minutes later, Maclaren had a hat-trick.
His second was rather fortuitous, as Liam Rose couldn’t deal with a low cross, leaving Maclaren to tap home from point-blank range.
The hat-trick goal was more impressive, as Maclaren raced onto an Arana through ball before dinking a left-footed finish into the far corner.
Maclaren wasn’t particularly thrilled with his performance, but is content to be contributing to the Roar’s success.
“I didn’t play well tonight and I scored a hat-trick. If I asked the boss if he’d rather I play well or score goals, I know what his answer would be,” Maclaren said.
“I knew I’d finish strong at the end of the season, like I did last year. I’m feeling good and ready for the finals”.
Maclaren’s haul pulls his season total up to 18 goals, and the Roar marksman now sits level with Besart Berisha atop of the A-League scoring charts.
The win moves Brisbane into third spot on the ladder and boosts their goal difference to +7, a potentially important tiebreaker over the chasing pack.
49 ‘: Fabio Ferreira carries all the way from the centre circle to the edge of the box and fires past Young. 0-1
62′: Jamie Maclaren finishes through Ivan Necevski’s legs after Brandon Borrello squares from the byline. 1-1
66′: Borrello finds Maclaren again and the striker taps home when Liam Rose can’t deal with the low cross. 2-1
70′: Maclaren races onto a through ball before dinking a left-footed finish past Necevski for his hat-trick. 3-1
82′: Time slows down for Thomas Broich and the German curls into the far corner . 4-1
90+1′: Nicholas D’Agostino finds the top corner with a delightful strike. 5-1
Brisbane make the long trip west to visit Perth Glory in a potential finals preview on Saturday 8 April (10pm KO).
Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Round 25, Sunday 2 April
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Roar 5 (Jamie MACLAREN 62′ 66′ 70′, Thomas BROICH 82′, Nick D’AGOSTINO 90+1′)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Fabio FERREIRA 49′)